By Brendan Lutes
Carey Hart needs no introduction. The former racer, turned Freestyle motocross rider has been a pioneer in the sport of FMX since day one, pulling off the first back flip back at the Gravity Games in 2000 and forever changing FMX. Since then, Hart has taken a step back from competing to start his own tattoo company, clothing line, and Supercross and off-road truck race teams. To say he’s a busy man would be an understatement, but we managed to catch up with him during the final stop of the Dew Tour where Hart & Huntington hosted a Best Whip competition and announced its new partnership with the retail giant JC Penney.
We’re here in Vegas for the Best Whip contest, but was this the only event that was held at any of the Dew Tours?
Our first event that we did this year was at the Salt Lake City Dew Tour where we did a Speed and Style event, which was kind of a Speed and Style on steroids. It was on a much bigger track [than X Games] with four man heat races and a lot of good racing and great tricks. This event [in Las Vegas] was the official big release with JC Penney, and what better backdrop than the Las Vegas strip for a Best Whip event?
Can you talk about the new partnership that Hart & Huntington has with JC Penney?
It’s been a project that we’ve been working on for a very long time. It was just crazy with the timing and the national synergy that has been happening with the Dew Tour and JC Penney’s involvement with the Dew Tour. Just how it all kind of naturally came together was just amazing. For everything to line up perfectly for us to be in Las Vegas—my hometown and the birth of Hart & Huntington Tattoo—to do this announcement has been pretty surreal.
What has it been like to start Hart & Huntington, slowly grow the brand, and to now have it blowing up on the level that it is?
It has been crazy—honestly. To be able to build and make anything in life out of something that you love is a plus; let alone start out from something that was so small and just a crazy idea of having a tattoo shop inside a hotel, to then have it evolve into the clothing business and then be able to get back to the roots of supporting motocross riders, action sports athletes, wakeboarders, and everybody that we work with. It’s been great to team up with JC Penney and if you look at who JC Penney aligns themselves with lately, they’re cool and I’m excited about it.
What else have you been up to lately? You just had a kid, so have you been riding as much as you used to?
First and foremost I’ve been doing a lot of juggling [between having a kid, working, and riding]. But early this year, I did X Games, rode the Speed and Style event in Salt Lake City, and I got a little break for a couple weeks because me, my wife, and the baby have been in New York while she has been filming a movie. Literally, I went home after two weeks and it was back to the grind. Right now, we’re doing pre-season testing for the Supercross season next year. It’s full on and a never-ending circle that never seems to stop, but I love it.
You mentioned your Supercross team. Can you talk a little about that and your plans for 2012?
We’ve grown in leaps and bounds over last year. Thanks to our great roster of sponsors that we have with Dodge and Sycuan Hotel, which just came on really big this year, we were able to grow our program and now have a four man team. We’ll have two semis in the pits and four riders. We have Josh Hill, who will be back and healthy; Ivan Tedesco, who has been our workhorse; Kyle Partridge, who is a local up-and-coming Vegas kid; and we just signed Josh Hansen. It’s going to be really, really exciting.